Last time, I wrote about the value of having a Rule of Life. What should you put into a Rule of Life? The answer is what you need to put into it.
A Rule of Life is a completely personal document that helps you live out the rhythm of life that will help you grow in Christ. Remember the purpose of a Rule: to be “an intentional, conscious plan to keep God at the center of everything we do. . . . The starting point and foundation of any Rule is a desire to be with God and to love him.” (From Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero) It helps us develop a way of life that keeps God at the center. This is part of what we mean when we talk about Following Christ.
Shaping Our Lives
It is important to remember that the spiritual life is about us as well, because it impacts our own health and wholeness. It is also about having strong healthy relationships with our families and communities. A life with God at the centre should lead to health and balance. With that in mind, here are some general areas to consider when we think about writing a Rule of Life:
1) Relationship with God: Here we consider how we meet with God on a daily and weekly basis. Under this heading would be things like prayer, Bible study, Sunday worship, silence, and so on.
2) Personal Health: Here we consider the habits that keep us healthy, such as amount of sleep, proper diet, times of Sabbath rest, physical activity.
3) Relationships: Here we consider how we spend our time with others, members of our families, close friends, and how we are at work. In this category we consider practices like hospitality, community, respecting the dignity of every person, and so on.
4) Personal Growth: Here we consider how we want to grow. This might be continuing education for work or personal interest. It might be habits that we want to develop, or bad habits we want to shake off. Think about hobbies that you enjoy and want to develop. You might choose to go to a Cursillo weekend or a conference to grow in your faith. It might mean being part of an ongoing Bible study or discipleship group.
5) The Kingdom of God: all of us are called to work for the Kingdom. We are called to be salt and light and to take part in the mission of God to proclaim the good news of the Gospel by word and deed. This might be volunteering or reaching out to someone who is hurting. It might be participating in a prayer group. It might mean praying on your own for someone or a group of people. In might be a ministry you do through the church or the food bank. How are you working for the kingdom of God?
A Simple Rule of Life
This might seem like a lot to consider. Please remember that a Rule of Life doesn’t have to be complicated. For instance, the Cursillo program offers a simple but profound Rule of Life that helps thousands of engaged Christians around the world. Cursillo just means ‘a short course in Christianity.’ It is usually a weekend long, and then Cursillistas (people who have gone through the weekend) are encouraged to make a Rule of Life under three simple headings:
1) Piety: how you are going to pray
2) Study: how you are going to learn
3) Action: how you are going to live in daily life
Some people call it Heart, Head and Hands. No matter the words, it helps us think through how we orient our lives to God. Next time, I will describe my own Rule of Life and how I live it out. Not because it is special or something you should desire to copy, but just to give a concrete example of how one Follower of Christ tries to live out the Gospel in daily life.